Ever Wonder Why Designer Clothes Are So Expensive?
Have you ever saved up to buy one incredible piece–the classic Chanel 2.55 bag, a pair of Louboutins, or a once-in-a-lifetime designer dress–only to finally get your hands on the goods and wonder why on earth you were forced to part ways with so many paychecks for it? The new style issue of the New Yorker helps shed a little bit of light on the subject…
New Yorker scribe Ariel Levy profiles Alber Elbaz, the brilliant mind behind Lanvin, in this week’s issue (and psst…he’sone of seven people Glamour already knew had the potential to single-handedly change your style!). She asks him how he feels about the sometimes-ludicrous prices of the company’s fancy frocks, and he tells her this about his laborious design process: “I took all the bones out, and I stitch, and to get there, you know, it took me forever. It took me six or seven dresses to make one. And it’s time and it’s money and we are not doing it in offshore countries – we pay 65% taxes in France! It is so much work. Doing a collection for me is almost like creating a vaccine. Once you create the one vaccine, then you can duplicate for nine dollars and ninety-nine cents. But see if you can create it for nine dollars and ninety-nine cents, and the answer is no.”
So. Sometimes you’re not paying for the actual dress in your hands, as in, $3,000 worth of silk, but the time and energy and effort that went into creating that dress. You’re funding the research, essentially–an incredibly fascinating concept that I’ll admit, I never thought about until I read that article. What do you guys think about that? Are you surprised? Does it give you an “aha!” moment of clarity about why some pieces that don’t seem like they should be terribly expensive actually are? Does it give you a little bit of relief to know that designers aren’t just jacking up prices to make their items seem more exclusive? Does it make you more or less likely to invest in a serious piece of designer clothing? Discuss!
And head over to the New Yorker’s website now for more incredible writing from this week’s style issue!